Liam Randall, local democracy reporter
A care home in Flintshire will become the first in Wales to receive the new coronavirus vaccine, it’s been revealed.
Flintshire Council said a home in the Mold area had been chosen to pilot the roll-out of the Pfizer/BionTech vaccine starting from tomorrow (Wednesday, 16 December), before it’s introduced elsewhere later this week.
The initial launch of the vaccine to care home staff, health and social care workers and those aged 80 started across the UK last week.
However, providing it for care home residents has not been possible until now because of the requirement for the vaccine to be stored at minus 70 degrees celsius.
The local authority’s chief executive Colin Everett said the home had been picked due to its close working links with Betsi Cadwaladr University Health Board.
Speaking at a meeting of the council’s ruling cabinet held today, he said: “With our agreement on Friday and thanks to our social services colleagues, in North Wales we will be piloting the first care home to receive the Pfizer vaccine.
“It’s in the Mold area, although I won’t say which one it is.
“There’s no risk to it when I say trialling – it’s all about the stability of the vaccine with it’s low temperature and how its transported and contained.
“This one care home was picked particularly because of their relationships with Betsi, where there’s a strong relationship and that will be a really important step.
“That means if there’s any delay in the second and third vaccines, which if licenced are due to be available from January, we could then begin to reach other care home residents by using the Pfizer first vaccine.”
The pilot for the roll-out of the vaccine to Welsh care homes was announced by Health Minister Vaughan Gething yesterday.
The trial programme will allow health boards to take the vaccine to homes with at least five residents, rather than using it only in static vaccination centres.
The Welsh Government said it would take a number of days to train staff and ensure procedures are drawn up.
At first the vaccine will be issued to care homes in close proximity to hospital pharmacies, but it is planned for the vaccine to be available in other settings in the coming weeks.
It was reported last week that Deeside Leisure Centre in Queensferry, which is currently being used as a temporary coronavirus hospital, will also serve as a vaccination centre, with changes to access arrangements being carried out.
Mr Everett said: “We’ve shared with all the local members around Deeside the traffic management plan for when Deeside Leisure Centre doubles up as a vaccination centre as well as the hospital.
“It is likely to be drawn upon from the week of the fourth of January.
“Thanks to the members for their patience but also to our team for their superb work to create a traffic management plan with safer access and egress.”